Tuesday, January 22, 2008

coming from behind-sight.

Ah, the wonder of it all… first day of classes! Of course, I always feel this way on the first day of class, reality sets in a week or so down the road when I suddenly realize how much time and effort they really will take. But for now just let me enjoy this moment, this thrill of anticipation.
I have been attending school, off and on for quite a long while. My first attempt at the University right out of high school was rather a disaster that left me reeling a bit and only lasted a few semesters before I quit altogether and took a job wandering around in the wilderness for weeks at a time. Eventually I started taking classes at a local community college, here and there, working on and off, always with the idea that I would eventually get back and get a degree (in "art", that never wavered... it was always going to be "art"). finally, after my mission I was ready- I was going to get that degree, Dang it! And i was going to do it at the Lord's University too!!!
I still ended up changing my major a couple of times ("art" is such a vague term), and ironically, it wasn't until the last half of my last semester that I finally 'found my voice', so to speak, a real sense of direction and inspiration in my work. And then I was out, booted into the cold cruel world with a piece of paper for all my effort. and I soon found out that paper wasn't worth the ink it had been printed with. It wasn't the Universities fault, it was mine. Somehow I had gone through that entire process without really gaining one marketable skill. And I was a newly wed with a husband still in school. Some lessons are learned late and hard. After weeks and weeks of being turned down for hundreds of secretarial and receptionist positions, I finally landed a minimum wage job at an art supply store.
I really wanted to go back to school, do graduate work, follow that flicker of inspiration that had finally shown itself, but we mutually decided to put the 'bread winner' through school first. A few years later, when the bread winner was finally brining home the bacon, I did apply. To one University, the one in the town in which we lived. I wasn't accepted. I took a few fine art classes to brush up on some skills, get some new portfolio pieces, get some more recent letter-of-recommendation writers, etc... I applied again, and was rejected again.
I had to to some hard thinking. why was i doing this, anyways? I was making art on my own... why this push for another degree? well, there is a lot of answers to that, but one of them was that I really wanted to not be so utterly unmarketable. If something happened to my moneybags my lover, what would I do to support myself. In all honesty, an advanced degree in fine art can very likely still leave a person with relatively few marketable skills.
It was while visiting the website of an old art friend that I had the thought; get some computer graphics skills. I have always wanted a website just for showing my work... why not learn to do it myself? those are highly marketable skills. I started last semester at the local community college, taking an intense Photoshop class, and a beginning class that covered Illustrator, Indesign, and Quark. This semester it is learning HTML, Dreamweaver, Flash, and web designing skills. This has been totally new for me- I'd take those fine art classes and was automatically the star student, it didn't take much effort... this computer stuff, however, is really tough, this is REALLY stretching me. And I LOVE it. I am so excited about what I am learning, the things I know how to do now, and the things i will know how to do in just a few short weeks.
Part of me worries, that this will displace my other art. I really hope it doesn't. I don't know for certain that it won't. But i do feel I am doing the right thing. That has got to count for something.


(chandelle) said...

that's pretty much me, except with health/medicine. and i've wandered all over the map with that, from neurology to pathology to forensics and psychology to midwifery to holistic health to nutrition to herbology to naturopathy...all over the friggin' place, for the past ten years, never really picking up anything marketable, always feeling like such a flake because i had so many passions and couldn't settle on one thing. luckily i'm now going into a profession where i have a pretty broad range of choices within it to do various things, but i still know that someday i'll do something very different. and i've accepted that that's just the way it is for people of passion, and i wouldn't want it any other way. i wouldn't want to be passionless and settle in a job just because it pays a lot or something. i want to do something fulfilling and beautiful and i don't care if i make money at all. and if that makes me a flake, so be it! :)

and hey, i was rejected by that school, too! HIGH-FIVE!

G said...

high-five right back acha babe!

and when I feel like a flake, i try to find euphimisms like "esoteric" or "creative" or "thinking outside the box" or "swimming against the flow"... you get the idea. Sometimes it works. sometimes not so much.

mr. pink's mom said...

you were sent away?

G said...

"you were sent away?"

do you mean when I said I was booted out? naw, I just graduated, and so lost my student health insurance, my university related art studio, my univeristy related job...
the cold cruel world of real life with a worthless degree.

or did you mean something else?

Lessie said...

I love this feeling at the beginning of a semester. My interests are wholly unmarketable as well (at least outside the academic world, anyway): dead languages, literature, and philosophy.